AP engineering students develop technology to detect thunderbolt before 30 minutes!


A group of five girls from anengineering college in Kuppam district are developing a first of its kind mobile application- to detect lightening hit or thunderbolts 30 minutes prior to the attack. This is being supported by Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education in association with ISRO in developing this state-of-the-art alerting system. This was tested and practically implemented last week in Ananthagiri in Vishakhapatnam, where the tahsildar was informed by state disaster management department that a lightening would strike in the next half hour, who in turn could inform the 300 public servants in the area to prevent and alert people to stay away from the current poles and trees in and around 2 kilometers radius of the attack area.

The prediction was accurate and the lightening hit the area but the losses could be averted. Just two days prior, a lightening was predicted in CM Chandrababu Naidu’s hometown where the electronic goods were damaged but human and cattle loss was controlled. Andhra Pradesh became the first state in India to work on this technology and predict the lightning strike with around 80% accuracy rate. ISRO has taken the help of US developed Earth Network satellites to know the location of hit.

Study on thunderbolt depends on the study of movement of charges across the clouds. The friction between charges in between the clouds in contact creates a change in temperature, which leads to a current. As the current flow is more than 30 kA, thunders occur. To study these, around 250 proximity sensors have been placed across the state in a zigzag manner at various places like colleges, river beds, hills, etc. and these sensors analyze the parameters of the lightening whose information is sent to the state disaster management board and meteorological department. The information data is processed through an application program interface developed by the students where the information is converted into text data and vocal alerts (IVR) which are sent to the people in the area of the danger zone.

“The system helps us predict lightning, wind speed, rainfall and temperature, but mainly focuses on the detection of lightning. As according to NCRB data, a majority of the people dying in natural calamities die due to lightning. In order to save the lives of the people, livestock and monuments, we have come up with the app which will save many lives. The project is the first in the country and is being developed at a low cost to train students. We are trying to achieve 95% accuracy in coming six months and are increasing the number of sensors,” says APSCHE Secretary S Varadarajan.